Melbourne Cup Tips

Last Updated 20 Sep 2021 | Commercial content | 18+

Welcome to our complete guide, including our top Melbourne Cup tips to help you decide which thoroughbred horse to bet on. Often referred to as “The Race That Stops A Nation” and for a good reason, the Melbourne Cup is held annually at Flemington Racecourse and, just like the Grand National does in England, it’s a race that many ‘once-a-year’ Australian punters have a bet on. To get tips on the other Australian horse races, read our page dedicated to the Australian horse racing tips.

However, in more recent years, even though this horse race is the most famous one in Australia, it’s also now heavily followed by horse racing enthusiasts all over the world.

As the day of the Melbourne Cup gets closer, if you plan on betting on your favourite horse, you should read our Melbourne Cup tips. We have collected all the Melbourne Cup betting tips, trends and a look at the main runners (click here to get more information about the Melbourne Cup runners such as which horses are running in the Melbourne Cup? who are the favourites horses?).

Top Melbourne Cup Tips 2021

When it comes to the world’s top betting races, no sooner has one renewal passed that bets are being placed on the next running and in the case of the 2021 Melbourne Cup, opinions are already being exchanged.

True, this is one tough race to get right from a punter’s point of view but it is certainly not impossible to call. The huge odds on offer about past winners of the Melbourne Cup tend to simply reflect how competitive each renewal has been rather than the horse seemingly having no chance, so get digging into the form book.

If you’re chasing some extra value then, of course, betting ante-post on the race could be the way to go but the earlier you do so, the less chance you have of getting the outcome right.

To make an informed choice, listen to what the trainers have to say, keep an eye on track conditions and place your bets after the final field is announced and the all-important draw has been made for stall positions.

When betting on the Melbourne Cup, reading form is crucial but not everyone is an expert (to learn more, check our page about Melbourne Cup betting). A perfect, simple example of how to do it is to look back at the form of 2020 winner Twilight Payment.

His trainer, Joseph O’Brien, had one of the favourites in the shape of Master of Reality. Just two runs before the Melbourne Cup, Twilight Payment had handed his stablemate an 8-length beating in Ireland off level weights and was now due to carry 1lb less in the big race.

This is a proper evidence-based form. Every now and then, it really is that easy!

You should pay attention to the horse’s age, pedigree, performance history and career statistics. If you’re looking for the best tips, it’s best to wait until as close to the race day as possible. By then, all the relevant information will be known: the jockeys, the weather, the barriers, the final field and the track conditions.

Melbourne Cup Betting Tips

There will always be a new kid on the block, such as Twilight Payment himself, but horses like Prince of Arran keep running well and keep coming back for more so it could pay to look out for those with a proven ability in what is a very tough contest.

Joseph O’Brien’s winner may well come back to defend his crown and if handed a reasonable racing weight he’d have to stand an each-way chance, as would Prince of Arran.

However, if we’re looking towards those with previous Melbourne Cup form who, absolutely crucially, haven’t yet reached their full potential then, of course, we need to concentrate on Sir Dragonet and Russian Camelot.

The former, an ex-Aidan O’Brien runner in Ireland, has taken well to life in Australia with current trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and was once favourite for The Derby at Epsom.

Only four years old, he will only get better at the top level and so having finished a more than respectable 6th in 2020 we should expect big things for him when the race rolls around once more.

Similarly, Russian Camelot has a lot more to give. He was handed his chance in the Melbourne Cup in 2020 despite being only three years old and having had a tough year, running five times at the top level. With an Aussie summer on his back and a good rest, it would be fair to think Danny O’Brien’s colt can comfortably outdo his eighth-place finish next time around.

You can follow race trends of course, and we have some for you to note below, but these should always be used as a guide only. Never forget; you’re betting on the outcome of a future event, not on one that has already been and gone. For more information to bet on the race, read the guide on Melbourne Cup betting and odds, (bookmakers, favourite horses, offers for existing customers).

Below are some trends to factor into your betting preparation for the Melbourne Cup 2021:

  • 16/16 – Had won a Group class race before
  • 14/16 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
  • 14/16 – Raced at Geelong (2), Flemington (3), Caulfield (4) or Moon Valley (5) last time
  • 14/16 – Won 8 or fewer races before
  • 14/16 – Winners from stall 5 or higher
  • 14/16 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
  • 11/16 – Had raced within the last 2 weeks
  • 11/16 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
  • 10/16 – Won by an AUS-based horse
  • 10/16 – Aged 5 or older
  • 10/16 – Drawn in stall 9 or higher
  • 10/16 – Had raced at Flemington Park before (7 won there)
  • 10/16 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
  • 9/16 – Horses from stall 10 or 11 placed
  • 9/16 – Aged 6 or older
  • 8/16 – Won by a 6-year-old
  • 8/16 – Had won over 1m7f or further before
  • 7/16 – Placed favourites
  • 4/16 – Had won just once before
  • 4/16 – Won last time out
  • 3/16 – Winning favourites
  • 3/16 – Had raced in a previous Melbourne Cup
  • 2/16 – French-trained winners
  • 2/16 – English/Irish winners
  • The average winning SP in the last 16 runnings is 18/1

Of course, it’s also important to follow the weather forecast, as it might influence the performance of some horses.
Keep in mind that the 2021 Melbourne Cup tips will change if the race conditions alter – for example, certain horses act better on certain ground so if the ground came up soft then this might be seen as a negative for some runners.

Betting on the Melbourne Cup requires a lot of preparation and thorough research. Apart from the form of the horses, you should observe the form of the jockeys and trainers as well.

It’s also a race that attracts the same horses running year-on-year – between 2003 and 2005, the Aussie-trained Makybe Diva won the Melbourne Cup three years in a row, while in more recent times the Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince Of Arran was third in 2018 and runner-up in the 2019 Melbourne Cup – he’s likely to be flown over from England again as he tries to go one place better.

Melbourne Cup Tips

Editorial credit: Kaspars Grinvalds /

Melbourne Cup Betting Types

No matter if you’re an experienced punter or if you would simply like to try your hand at horse betting, the Melbourne Cup is the perfect place for it. Do your homework before the Melbourne Cup frenzy starts and decide which bet you want to place.

In this section of our Melbourne Cup Tips, we’ll discuss the types of bets you can find on the numerous bookmakers’ sites. Below, you can find the explanations of different Melbourne Cup betting types.

In general, there are two basic types of bets: the traditional and the exotic ones. The traditional bets are the Win and the Place bet, and any other type we mention are referred to as the exotic bets. Now, let’s go into further detail on each of these bets.

Win bet

This is the most popular and common type of bet. As the name itself says, you place a bet on the horse you think is going to win. In case the horse you backed doesn’t cross the finish line first, your stake is lost.

Place bet

What you need to do here is pick a horse you believe is going to finish among the first three runners. You will notice that the odds are lower than for a Win bet, but the chances of you winning are greater.


If you opt for the Quinella bet, you are choosing which two horses will finish first and second. The order isn’t important. Of course, there are some variations to this type of bet.


A bet similar to the Quinella, where you have to pick the two horses that will take the first and the second place. The difference is that, when placing the Exacta bet, you must select the horses in the exact order. The stakes are higher, but the payouts could be great if your bet turns out winning.

When it comes to the Exacta bet, you really need to be well-prepared. That’s when our Melbourne Cup tips come in handy.


If you decide to place a trifecta bet, your selection should include horses that will finish the race first, second and third, in that precise order. That bet is also called a Straight Trifecta. Another, preferred among punters and useful version of this bet is the Boxed Trifecta.

If you box your Trifecta bet, that means you can choose three horses, but the order they will finish the race isn’t of crucial importance. We would like to point out that this type of bet costs more than a Straight Trifecta because there is an increased number of possible winning combinations.

First Four

You won’t see many newbies trying out the First Four bet. It’s one of the most difficult bets to win, and for a good reason. You choose four horses you think are going to finish in the first, second, third and fourth place.

If you manage to win this bet, you’ve hit the jackpot. The odds will certainly be in your favour. Have a look at the Melbourne Cup odds here.

Of course, there is a variation of this bet as well- a Box First Four. You can choose four or more horses that will finish the race in any order, but still, be in the first four. This alternative increases your chances of winning, as there are multiple possible outcomes.

Each-way Bet

An each-way bet is a combination of a Win and a Place bet. That means half your stake is placed on the win and the other part on the place. If your horse wins, you’ll receive payouts for both parts of the bet.

On the other hand, if your horse finishes second, third etc. you will still receive the place part of the bet.


One of our best Melbourne Cup tips is to do your research before placing any kind of bet. That includes the head-to-head bet. Essentially, you pick two horses that take part in the Melbourne Cup and bet on the one you think will finish the race first.

Live Betting

If you want to ramp up the excitement levels, one of our Flemington Melbourne Cup tips is to bet live (more information to watch the Melbourne Cup live). You can place the bets after the race has started. What adds to the thrill of live betting is the fact that the odds change as the horses change positions, so you should monitor them closely.

Due to the Interactive Gambling Act in Australia, any form of live betting cannot be conducted online.

The Melbourne Cup tips are here to help you out in any way possible, but, ultimately, the decision is yours. It all comes down to you knowing your preferences and deciding which betting option is the way to go.

Melbourne Cup Tips – Past Winners

One of the crucial Flemington Melbourne Cup tips is the list of the past winners, so you can see whether the favourites of a certain year made actually won the Melbourne Cup – the last horse to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups was Makybe Diva, who won the race three times between 2003 and 2005.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy is also a man to look for when deciding on your Melbourne Cup fancy – the Australian-based jockey has won two of the last four runnings of the Melbourne Cup and three in total.

The last UK-based jockey to win the Melbourne Cup was Ryan Moore (2014), while UK trainer Charlie Appleby (Cross Counter, 2018) and Irish handler Joseph O’Brien (Rekindling, 2017) have also saddled Melbourne Cup winners in recent times.

Below, you can take a look at the past Melbourne Cup champions:


YearMelbourne Cup ChampionRace Time
2020Twilight Payment3:17.34
2019Vow and Declare3:24.76
2018Cross Counter3:21.17
2015Prince of Penzance3:23.15
2012Green Moon3:20.45

As you can see, in the past 10 years, the best time was achieved in 2014 by Protectionist. But, he isn’t the record-holder. In 1990, a horse named Kingston Rule set a record – 3:16.3, and to this day it hasn’t been broken.

But, who knows what this year will bring. Maybe we’ll witness a new Melbourne Cup record being set.

Melbourne Cup FAQ

When is the Melbourne Cup 2021?

This year, the Melbourne Cup will take place on Tuesday 2nd November.

How many horses are there in the Melbourne Cup?

There are 24 horses selected to run the Melbourne Cup each year, however, the number of runners who end up running the race can sometimes be lower if there are any last-minute scratchings.

Below you can find the list of horses competing in this year’s Melbourne Cup:

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